What’s cheaper for your band: monthly or hourly rooms?

What’s cheaper for your band: monthly or hourly rooms?

Many bands jump at the opportunity to get a monthly rehearsal “lockout” room. It sounds cheaper and easier, so it must be, right? Conventional wisdom about monthly lockouts doesn’t hold true anymore, as commercial rents have risen and most monthly spaces have gotten dingier.

Here’s a scenario of a typical Vancouver band:

A band with 5 members decides to rent a monthly lockout room for their once per week rehearsals. The total rental of the monthly space costs $800/month, and they split the cost with another band who shares the room, so their share is $400/month.

Alternatively, they could rent hourly rooms for their once per week practice, with the assumption that each practice is 3 hours. Using the pricing here at Soundhouse Studios, they could pay a discounted rate of $16.30/hour if they bought a 30-hour package (regular rate is $20/hr). This comes to $195.60 per month, 50% LESS than a monthly room!

A LOT of people don’t like moving their amps or gear, so let’s say we add amp storage to the mix, (and here at Soundhouse we will move to and from your hourly room for your bookings). Storage is $55/month per amp, and assuming two members of the band want to store an amp each, would add $110/month to your costs. Add this to the $195.60 in room rentals, and you’d be paying $305.60 total per month, still nearly $100 less than a monthly room.

Looking at these two scenarios, it’s pretty obvious that renting on an hourly basis works out to be cheaper option.

One of the things we keep hearing at Soundhouse from customers who used to rent monthly is that they find they are way more productive when they rent hourly – that they get more done and use their time better, and they’re not going back to monthly.

However, some people prefer monthly rooms because they want more hang-out time with their bandmates. Make sure you consider all the Pros and Cons when making your decision:

PROS of renting hourly:

• It’s CLEAN! (no more cleaning up empty beer cans or garbage from the other people sharing your room!)
• No clutter, no extra gear that doesn’t need to be in the room
• No distractions, visual or otherwise
• P.A., mics, and drums are already provided, and they are in great condition and work properly
• You can take a week or two off and not lose money (e.g. tours, summer/Christmas holidays, if someone’s sick). We only require 24-hours notice to cancel.
• More flexible – can change to different days easily
• No hidden costs (e.g. providing sound baffles to make the room sound good, maintenance, damage deposit, etc)
• Consistency – Room is always clean, equipment always works
• No more chasing down other band members/bands for rent money

CONS of renting hourly:

• Need to schedule rehearsals ahead of time
• Need to load in/load out guitars, amps if you don’t opt to rent or store gear on-site.
• Don’t have 24/hour access to space (some, but not all, monthly studios provide this)

If you decide that a monthly room is right for you, it’s very important to make sure you have a good security system in the building you rent. Ideally, you would have individually-alarmed rooms (with a motion sensor instead of a door sensor – it’s more secure), plus a full building alarm, all monitored by a reputable security company. One thing I’ve seen before is an alarm that’s designed well but it’s not monitored well (meaning staff/owner is absent and they ignore the system when the alarm goes off). This is just as bad as no alarm system, because not all alarm systems automatically call the police, some have to wait for a go-ahead from the business owner, which was the case in a local studio here in Vancouver. A good space will also have other monthly renters or people who keep an eye on security and will notice if suspicious people are hanging around. A present business owner or staff is very important for security.

Depending on where you’re currently rehearsing, you may be in a space with barely any soundproofing, which is another bonus at Soundhouse – all our rooms are purpose-built so you can expect the best soundproofing of any rehearsal studio in Vancouver.

The Bottom Line: whether monthly or hourly, make sure you’re rehearsing in a well-run, professional space! You’ll feel better, more creative, and you’ll get more out of your rehearsal.

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